Reviews from

in the past

On the surface, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX appears to be a pretty faithful remake of the original Blue and Red Rescue Team. It’s the same turn-based dungeon-crawler roguelike Pokemon battling translation that I had grew up with almost two decades ago, coupled with the same storyline and a rearranged orchestral version of the original’s DS soundtrack. Minus the lack of walkable Friend Areas, DX’s atmosphere and core gameplay mechanics seemed accurate to my previous experience of the original games at first, and thus it seemed like a forgone conclusion that I’d naturally enjoy the remake. However, the more I played through the game, the more things felt off.
Further investigation into DX’s inner workings revealed that while DX preserves the core formula of Blue Rescue Team’s structure and basic combat mechanics, much of the surrounding survival mechanics have actually been pulled from the latest iteration of PMD via Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon on the 3DS to “modernize” the mechanics as opposed to adapting mechanics from the original games in Red/Blue Rescue Team or the DS successors in Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky. I started noticing that in DX, the hunger mechanic felt much more prevalent; my Pokemon’s belly appeared to empty much more quickly than in the originals, and I found myself consuming an Apple every few minutes or so. There’s a variety of changes that contribute to this: the belly decreases by 1/7 of a point every action (instead of 1/10 for Blue and EoS), Max Ethers/Elixirs no longer restore BP, consuming berries & seeds only restore 2 BP as opposed to 5 in the originals, and so on. Similarly, Power Point (PP) management regarding move usage limits became far more grating in DX as opposed to the original. The obvious culprit is removing the standard attack that could be used at any time for a weaker strike that preserved PP (meaning players now had to utilize moves far more often), but to compensate for this, Spike Chunsoft had to supply the player with far more PP restoration items. However, instead of supplying them with Max Elixirs that fully restore PP for all moves used, the most common PP restoration item is now the Max Ether, which only restores PP for a single move. The optimal strategy then, is to spam the same move over and over again so you get the most bang for your buck out of using Max Ethers. Finally, weather feels much more intrusive in the remake as opposed to the originals, because DX removes the ability to naturally heal HP over time during sandstorms/hail if you’re not of a resistant type, meaning that you have to either pack a lot more Oran Berries or waste more time outside of damaging weather to heal up.
None of these changes would feel too problematic in isolation, but together, this results in DX overemphasizing its resource management in comparison to Blue Rescue Team or Explorers of Sky, meaning that overloading your toolbox with the necessary buffers or grinding in easier dungeons to stock up on said buffers is pretty much a given to succeed (especially when Apple/Sticky Traps in dungeons can further spoil your resources). I unfortunately find this change in priorities somewhat ill-fitting to a remake of Blue Rescue Team; while the structure and core gameplay remained the same, the circumstances dictating how the player had to interact with the structure changed, and thus it feels to me like the remake struggled to serve its intended purpose. Needless to say, I’m far more interested in the turn-based combat than the resource management of PMD, and DX felt far more imbalanced to where I felt like I was spending most of my time watching my health/PP/belly and menuing rather than focusing on the play-by-play.
In a broader sense, I’ve said before that Pokemon’s greatest weakness is the presence of excessive RNG and grinding. That’s not to say that these weaknesses were absent from PMD, but rather, PMD often prevailed in the face of bullshit RNG and grinding because of how the game’s structure and gameplay mechanics leaned into them. Once again though, for a remake that seemed faithful on the outside, DX regrettably makes changes that worsen the RNG and grinding to extents that were not necessarily present in the originals.
I’ll come right out and say that I’m not a fan of DX’s changes regarding team size and recruitment. Blue Rescue Team and EoS kept the max party size to four Pokemon at a time (with Blue only letting you bring in three Pokemon at a time while EoS let you bring four; if you wanted a fourth in Blue, it had to be recruited in the dungeon), but DX has a max party size of up to eight Pokemon despite only letting you bring in three recruited members. The short and thick of it is that these recruits are a necessary liability for successful runs. They’re a liability because you have to bring them back through the end of the dungeon run to permanently recruit them on your team (unlike the originals, which let you send them back immediately to base), but keeping them alive will naturally eat into your resources, and letting them faint once they’ve been temporarily recruited as a guest will cause enemy Pokemon to become “awakened” and pose an immediate threat via significant stat increases. It’s also extremely unwieldy to try and micromanage five guests at the same time, especially when you can’t give guest Pokemon exact move commands or control their tactics, and you’ll often find them getting attacked at the end of a single-file line in corridors, unable to lend a helping hand to fend off enemy ambushes. At the same time, these guests can be absolute godsends to runs: they often come with Rare Qualities that affect the entire team, such as Small Stomach (which lets you consume any seed/berry/apple and immediately fills the belly to max capacity) or Strike Back (which lowers the Attack and Special Attack stats of an enemy Pokemon, including bosses, that deals damage to your team). You can’t see what rare qualities an enemy Pokemon may have while fighting them, so it’s in your best interest to recruit as many guests as possible in hopes of getting more Rare Qualities to bolster your team. Essentially, this is yet another resource grind that’s present only in the remake. At best, getting the Rare Quality recruits you need is extremely time-consuming and luck-based, but at least lets you steamroll boss fights. At worst, not getting the Rare Quality recruits you need feels like an active detriment when you’re running low on supplies and the dungeon isn’t giving you the item drops you need to survive.

Perhaps this resource grind would be more forgivable if the level scaling were up to par, but as it stands, I find enemy XP drops during the main game to be rather lacking. You’ll have to stick around and roam entire floors to sufficiently scale up with the enemy Pokemon level increases as the story progresses, and that’s often not the best idea when you’ve only got limited resources in your toolbox to manage HP/PP/BP and you’ll likely end up spotting the stairs before mapping out the entire floor. The best way then, is to train in Makuhita Dojo. This too, has been drastically changed from the original. Instead of challenge-room type and boss mazes, the dojo has been repurposed into a straight XP grindfest. You now have to spend limited tickets to defeat as many enemy Pokemon as you can in a real-time limit (i.e. a Bronze Dojo Ticket gives you 50 seconds of real time), and because experience is significantly multiplied both by the ticket itself (3x for Bronze, 5x for Silver, 7x for Gold) and by using super effective attacks, it’s simply too good to pass up considering the meager XP earnings from story dungeons. Unfortunately, this is also extremely tedious due to the time limits, as excess animations from randomly doubling attacks or outright missing attacks/failing to OHKO from random enemy buffs feels particularly punishing when Dojo tickets are a limited commodity that have to be scored as job rewards or randomly from dungeon treasure chests/mail. It also doesn’t help that the ticket allocation itself is not scaled: you’ll still be receiving Bronze tickets far into the post-game when you’ll likely need to use up 3 or more tickets to level-up, and you can only use one ticket at a time instead of stacking time limits. The result then, is that Makuhita’s dojo outright breaks the difficulty curve of the game: I found myself significantly overleveled during the main story using it, but after the significant difficulty spike during the post-game, it failed to provide much benefit for my main team since I was inundated with Bronze/Silver tickets and thus led to even more time spent grinding both in and outside of dungeons.
Gummis have also been reworked in DX, and are a slight improvement over the original, yet isn't completely rectified. Gummi grinding was likely the weakest aspect of the original games: you needed them to level up the IQ of each individual Pokemon for basic skills such as not stepping on visible traps and not using status moves on Pokemon that have already been statused. Fortunately, these IQ skills have been entirely removed and as a result the AI has been improved significantly: you no longer have to micromanage every single member of your team to avoid making silly mistakes, and in fact teammates can aid you subtly like positioning themselves to target ranged enemies or deviating slightly from the path to pick up floor objects so the leader doesn’t have to pick up every object themselves. That said, gummies still serve a purpose, because they provide random permanent stat boosts (invaluable when level-ups are often just a simple +1 to all stats) and they’re the only way to add/change Rare Qualities attached to your team members. DX still carries the spirit of gummi grinding, because just like Dojo Tickets, they can only be obtained via job rewards or found randomly in treasure chests, and you’ll often need to run through a few just to get the right Rare Quality for a specific team member (or a Rare Quality at all, because Rainbow Gummis are not guaranteed to give a Rare Quality). Still, I’m glad that this hole has been patched somewhat, but I can’t help but feel a little disappointed when a simple fix like making Gummis a random dungeon floor-item drop (just like the originals) would have helped to alleviated the grind.
The above three changes basically represent a trend of changing aspects from the original in a way that left something to be desired, and lead me to believe that the remake is somewhat misguided. It’s quite confusing: sometimes there are obvious improvements, like expanding the toolbox capacity from 20 to 48 (carrying this from Explorers of Time/Darkness forward) and adding in all evolution lines for Pokemon from Generations 1-3 + bringing in new moves that have been added since Gen 8, but then sometimes the game feels far more punishing than difficult in a way that the original never did, like how fainting in dungeons now makes you lose all of your money and items (whereas you’d only lose half of your items in the DS originals and at least in EoS, only lose half of your money), so you really better hope you’ve got the resources to rescue yourself with a second team or someone online spots your request promptly. What is more damning though, is that for as many things as they did change, there’s a lot of not great things about the original that I’d argue they should have changed/improved upon but didn’t (or at the very least, didn't improve upon enough), such as the aforementioned issue of gummi grinding Ironically, the qualities left in from the original are what led me to realize that Blue/Red Rescue Team are more flawed than I had originally remembered. For example, the original wasn’t great at pacing either (I found myself equally bored in the main-game at times, forced to grind during one particular story-heavy section where I was limited to my protagonist + partner), but I think it was more forgivable at the time given that it was the debut of the series and was greatly improved upon in Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky. DX feels far more egregious in context now that I have several points of comparison, for not fixing a lot of the grinding/RNG issues of the original (and in fact exacerbating a few of them) and transitioning the at-least involved main-story into an underwhelming post-game narrative, of which 80% can be summed up as “fight this powerful Pokemon because you can.” Take this with a grain of salt since my point of view is colored from extensively playing the original (albeit, almost a decade and a half ago), but I unfortunately found my time spent during the main story to be quite forgettable (as I breezed through the dungeons with little difficulty) and a good chunk of the post-game to be aggravatingly tedious while I scaled up my team to better deal with the far more competent foes and spongier bosses.
I suppose I did eventually come around on the post-game nevertheless, considering that at the time of writing I’ve now logged just over sixty hours on my save file. It’s a pity that it took hours of forgettable missions and grinding (instead of the game adequately scaling my gains throughout the story’s runtime) to get to that point and that my satisfaction was in spite of rather than as a result of the altered resource management (since these elements become minimal once you have the right Rare Qualities and a stockpile of Perfect Apples/Max Elixirs to throw at the problem), but a few of the game’s climatic dungeons really do bring out the best qualities of PMD’s gameplay. One dungeon that stands out is Meteor Cave: in it, you are constantly assaulted by infinite waves of different Deoxys forms that force you to consider the totality of your actions, considering each form has significantly stratified stats/moves that must be dealt with promptly before you run out of resources due to Pressure doubling your PP usage. In just twenty floors, this dungeon where you cannot be rescued challenged me in ways that Silver Trench couldn’t do in ninety-nine. This isn’t even my favorite dungeon in the game though: surprisingly, that title goes to Purity Forest. Considered by many to be the toughest dungeon in the game, Purity Forest drops you in with no items, no Poke, and only one team member, resetting your level to five and forcing you to fight and earn your way out to even hope to survive against fully evolved Pokemon by the end of your run. The caveat to my final hours savored in the game was that I had to slog through multiple other ninety-nine floor dungeons around the same time as tackling Purity Forest (and it doesn’t help that two of them, Wish Cave and Joyous Tower, are basically Purity Forest Jr since the only differences are that Wish Cave lets you bring items + teammates and Joyous Tower only lets you bring teammates), but ultimately, I can at least say I finished my run on a high note, even if I felt like my run was diluted somewhat by the lackluster pacing and never quite hit the perfect difficulty until the very end.
So the big question remains: do I recommend Rescue Team DX? While I ultimately got some enjoyment out of the game, I'm conflicted regarding its overall quality. All things considered, I don’t really know what audience this game appeals to or if it even excels in any particular category. Newbies will likely find this game too hard and too grindy during the main story, while veterans will likely find this game initially too easy and too grindy during the post-game. DX introduces enough quality-of-life changes, but it also doesn’t change certain exasperating elements from the original (or in some cases, outright fumbles the bag) and makes me question if the remake was necessary in the first place. The climactic gameplay, once the player gets past any resource and leveling barriers, is fantastic, but as I’ve mentioned earlier, is dragged down by a layer of RNG and grinding that often feels more tedious than challenging. Finally, I'd say that the story’s adequate given its time, but it can’t hold a candle to the emotional peaks reached by Explorers of Sky (due in part to Sky’s side stories).
If anything, my time with DX has confirmed that I see modern Pokemon games far differently than I once did as a kid. Obvious statements aside, I find that I tend to view the newer Pokemon games (of the ones I’ve played anyways, as I only have a few hours in Sword/Shield and haven’t touched Scarlet/Violet) more as sandboxes than well-rounded experiences. Granted, it might be a little unfair to assign this to a remake of a 2005 DS/GBA game, and it doesn’t even sound like a significant issue at first given that I’m usually able to dig deep and find the player motivation to thoroughly approach games on their own terms. That said, I would also say that there was once a time where Pokemon games excelled in both world-building/atmosphere and gameplay (Explorers of Sky being the obvious candidate), and as such it’s hard to see DX as anything but a personal disappointment at best. If you’re willing to put in the time and look past the many differences and flaws of this remake, then I think you’ll have a good time with this reimagined spin. As for me, I’m ready to put this down for now and accept that just as Pokemon has changed, so have I. It might not be my ideal experience, but I’m still glad that others were able to fully savor what DX brings to the table even if I’m stuck in the past reminiscing about the glory days of PMD, and that’s okay too.

Has many instances of misogyny and a battle against a shadowy version of yourself, making it yet another lesser RPG jealous of Persona’s success

I'm still over here wasting my money on Super Famicom carts, and I've now entered the "only buy CIBs" phase of my illness, which you might note is a breath away from being terminal. Unfortunately, I also suffer a debilitating comorbidity where I habitually buy Puyo Puyo games. My family has begun discussing hospice options.
I didn't have a great time with Puyo Puyo Sun for the Sega Saturn and found it to be somewhat dull given how flat its difficulty curve is. Its Summertime aesthetics keep it on the shelf, but if I want to actually play a Puyo Puyo game, I'm more likely to throw in Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, which I find to be more challenging. Brutal, even. In fact, there's a good chance my perception of Puyo Puyo has been warped by Mean Bean and it's rendered me incapable of valuing the series beyond its capability for dickishness.
Well, good news, Super Puyo Puyo Tsuu Remix is pretty dickish, and that means it's a good Puyo game! I'm not having fun if I'm not stuck on the final boss, watching junk pieces come down with precision timing to choke off combos I've been setting up. Oh, half the screen is full now - that's nice, this match has only been going on for ummm.... ten seconds.
That's just what I like to call peak Puyo. Because you're always playing at the peak of your well.
I'm not being entirely fair to Remix here, because I do think its difficulty pacing is overall better than Mean Bean Machine. I was able to beat the game on normal difficulty with some perseverance, whereas Mean Bean has been an unclimbable wall on any difficulty level other than easy. I think this actually puts Remix in the sweet spot for me. Just hard enough to be engaging but not so insane as to be unwinnable.
It's also just cute as hell. Arle is such a great character, I genuinely felt bad beating Cait Sith. It's a shame I can't read any of this dialog, but the animations and overall presentation of Remix is fun. Even the box itself looks good, the manual is packed full of great character art, and it came with a foil sticker to celebrate the first printing that I swear hasn't been touched. I managed to grab a pristine copy for about 27$, which is only a few bucks more than a complete copy of the base Puyo Puyo Tsuu will run you, which lacks the expert mode and practice course introduced in Remix. Not a bad price if you're looking to build your own CIB collection, and it's just a damn fun game, too.

The day after Christmas 2016, I got my PS4. A couple months prior, I finally got back into Playstation gaming after strictly being a Nintendo Fanboy for years. With my PS4, I got the Uncharted Collection, Uncharted 4, Skyrim, Little Big Planet 3 and Final Fantasy XV. I couldn't wait to dive into all these games I wouldn't have even given a chance years before. Fast forward to early April, I decided on a whim to pick up Persona 5 only a day after it came out. I knew almost nothing about Persona besides my one friend always recommending the series so I took a chance, and ended up loving it. Fast forward to May 2017, I pick up NieR Automata. That one friend who recommended the Persona series, would also show me gameplay of the original NieR. At this time I was still in the middle of playing Persona 5, but knowing I took a chance on that and was loving it, I took a chance on Automata as well. I didn't start it until June and didn't beat it until August of that year, but from my memories of 6 years ago I remember absolutely loving it. Fast forward to today and I decided I wanted to replay this game finally. I was wondering all this time if I'd love this game as much as I did back then, because 2017 was my absolute favorite year least that timespan of like April-August and it could have clouded my judgement. Well my thoughts are complicated but as you can see by my score, I do indeed still love this game overall.
When I first started this, I decided to replay it on hard. It had been 6 years since I played it but I figured I could do it. After dying 10 times in the super long intro, I decided to bump it down to normal. It might be a skill issue but I didn't find it fun to die in 2 or sometimes even 1 hit. I played the entire game on normal and I don't feel bad, I just wanted to have fun. Though tbh, on my first playthrough through Route A...halfway into it I kinda wasn't having much fun. My main issue was, I kept comparing every little thing to Gestalt which is the consequence of playing this immediately after that. I kept missing the main cast of that game and just wasn't digging Automata's cast much. By the end of route A, I was disappointed in the game...and disappointed in myself for feeling this way. I absolutely adored this back in 2017...did I change? Was I too cynical now or something?
My main reason for being disappointed was because my favorite aspect of Gestalt, the cast, was not even comparable in this game I felt. My favorite character was 9S and his best scenes don't even happen until the later routes. The cast of this game is solid I'd say but doesn't come close at all to Gestalt's main cast, at least for me. That was my main hangup during route A, and is still even now the biggest downgrade this game has compared to Gestalt.
During route A, even though I was disappointed by the end of it, there were still plenty of things I liked about the game and several improvements compared to Gestalt. The combat for one is definitely improved overall. Yes the combat is not on par with something like Bayonetta or DMC, but it's still flashy enough so that it feels good. You have two weapons at once and it feels good to switch between both. You also have these Pods that act as the Weiss of this game. You can switch abilities with them, and some of the abilities are straight up ones from Gestalt which was cool. Same with the weapons, some of them were ones from Gestalt so you know I had to use my beloved Beastbain. I also really loved the movement in this game compared to Gestalt, dashing around this post-apocalyptic world...especially in mid-air on top of buildings, god it feels good.
Speaking of the post-apocalyptic world..this a bit of a running gag in my discord server that I have a major hard on for it. And that's correct, I still absolutely adore the world in Automata. The world is not as fleshed out as actual open worlds, but that's partly why I love it. I think the world is the absolutely perfect size for a gaming world. It's small enough where I don't find getting around to be a chore, even if you can fast travel...and big enough where it's fun to actually explore and take in the amazing locales. Goddamn I love the aesthetic this world provides. The starting area is a ruined city overgrown with plant life and that aesthetic is like my #1 aesthetic now thanks to this game. You also have a massive desert with a whole city half buried in the sand at the end of it. You have an abandoned amusement park full celebrating machines. There's more ruined buildings on the coastline. There's a forest area that leads to a grassy castle. Right before that area, you go through a little shopping center that's full of overgrowth. There is no area I dislike going to because every single one has such a cool aesthetic which really does it for me. The world/setting of the game was my absolute favorite aspect when I first played (besides the OST) and even now it's still probably my favorite aspect. If there's any single one thing that this game destroys Gestalt on, it's definitely its world.
Speaking of the OST, it is still fantastic 6 years later. While personally, I do prefer Gestalt's OST by a fair margin...Automata's is still awesome. Back then my favorite themes were all the area themes and while they're still great, I really like a lot of the battle themes now. Grandma Destruction and Emil Despair, obviously because they're remixes of Gestalt songs but A Beautiful Song may be my favorite totally originally Automata song now, it's fantastic. The OST is indeed objectively amazing but I think the reason why I don't like it as much as Gestalt's now is because the songs have way more going on in them while Gestalt's are more simple. Automata's songs are also generally more epic and fast paced vs Gestalt's more elegant sounding songs. I still do love Automata's OST tho and it's definitely one of my favorites ever. Honestly tho I think Gestalt might have my favorite OST ever in any game, at least as of now so ofc that would be hard to top but Automata certainly isn't that far off.
Something I definitely loved this time around was the Gestalt connections I wouldn't have ever gotten when I first played. Like certain lines reminiscent of Gestalt, or really obvious things nowadays like how the desert machines all wear Facade-like clothing. There's a quest in the desert that even has you finding hidden items that were all connected to Facade which was amazing to discover. Speaking of quests, I honestly think they were a lot better in this game compared to Gestalt. Sure, you don't have the amazing banter between NieR and Weiss. However as a whole, I found there to be less fetch quests and more memorable quests that felt somewhat impactful towards the worldbuilding. Obviously, the single best quests are the Emil ones for me just cuz they connect to Gestalt so heavily but that was gonna be a given. Oh yeah, Emil is back...his side quests were awesome as stated before but besides that he's only really here as a shopkeeper which is okay I guess. If he didn't have either of the side quests, he would have been a big disappointment but those salvage his appearance I'd say. Also up to the end of Route A, I'd say the bosses were solid overall but none of them really wowed me besides Simone who was amazing. That's partly because A Beautiful Song plays during it but still. Also Also, I forgot to mention I did do every side quest and of course upgraded all weapons to max. For what you get from doing that, which is some of the best content in the game imo, I think it's worth it.
Anyways, a lot of things have been improved from Gestalt but the big downgrade being the cast hampered my enjoyment of the 2nd half of Route A cuz I kept comparing the two games the entire time. I established this before, so you'd think Route B would be even worse because it's pretty much a retread of Route A except with small changes here and there, kinda like Route B in Gestalt except not nearly as good. Well here's the weird thing, I honestly enjoyed myself more with Route B than A. That's weird because usually people hate Route B from what I've seen but idk I digged it. Maybe it's because I was playing as 9S who I enjoyed a lot more than 2B. Or maybe it was the addition of hacking which I honestly quite enjoy even tho I know many others don't. Idk but once I beat route B, I was definitely enjoying myself more than I did at the end of route A. So I don't get when people say Route B is bad, it's different enough that it's fun to play through again. Then Route C is next and that's where the story has it's peaks...and where the game definitely won me over again.
Route C is totally different from A and B and that's a huge change from route C in Gestalt. There it was the exact same as Route B except with two new endings so Route C in Automata is definitely a big improvement. There's tons of twists, reveals and heartbreak and it's 100% the best route no question. I still don't think the story elements or character interactions come close to gestalt in its ending, but they're definitely very good. I think story-wise, I like it less overall then Gestalt's just because of the inferior cast but it has some really emotional singular moments and so I like to think I love the moments in this game more than the entirety of its story which is opposite of Gestalt. Going into those moments though, and they both happened in Route C, they were the final super boss that you access by getting every weapon to max...and ending E.
The final super boss I knew would get me because of its connection to Gestalt, and they are huge connections, but I didn't think the waterworks would flow as hard as they did. Even more surprising was ending E. I still remembered what happened but idk man it really got me. When that certain part happens and you hear the choir, I broke down. This is THE moment I'm giving this game a 10 for now. I was contemplating whether to actually drop it to a 9, and I still might eventually who knows, but the fact I cried to something that had no connection to Gestalt really...that made me realize I do still love this game even without the Gestalt shit.
I may not be in love with the game's story or cast, and I think the OST is somewhat of a downgrade..however. The combat being improved, the still wonderful OST, my favorite world in any game and the worldbuilding and connections to Gestalt I do love. And so as of now I'm going to keep this at a 10, again I might drop it down eventually but Ending E won me over for now. I do definitely love Gestalt more now as you already know, which is so weird because I once had this at a 10 and Gestalt at an 8 lol. Funny how things change.

hearing the sound of glass shattering in the distance, only for you to change cams and find the looming silhouette of Vladimir Putin is a combination i never knew i was so afraid of

What the original game should've been, with the appropriate adjustment to the budget.
First of all, it's pretty incredible how they were able to fit the full-blown Assassin's Creed experience into a PSP game. The only compromises here are those of graphics and scale. Other than that, it plays almost identically.
But practically all the problems I had with the original are addressed here (as much as you can do without altering the core gameplay of course).
The boring tutorials, modern-day sections and unskippable cutscenes are gone. Nothing breaks up the game flow or ruins the immersion any more.
It's still not a stealth game, but at least it doesn't pretend to be one, getting rid of some unnecessary mechanics. More emphasis is made on combat, which, while still mostly boring, at least they don't take away your skills and weapons. You end up mostly relying on counter-attacks, which are satisfying, but can get tedious, especially as any fight can chain-link into several others. It can also be frustrating how after a successful counter-attack kill your character will disengage and just stand there to receive a hit. And trying to do something immediately might resolve in him just striking air. But I think this problem existed in the original game too.
The biggest and most important difference is how side-quests are no longer mandatory, but now there's an actual motivation to do them. They generate you profits which can then be spent on upgrades, which is yet another incentive to keep playing. These upgrades can make the gameplay much less frustrating too simply by making it easier, either through extra abilities, like auto-blocking or increased health.
Unlike the original Assassin's Creed, Bloodlines lets you just do what it was advertised to do: let you kill people as a badass assassin in Crusader states. It's still not a deep or complex game by any stretch of imagination. In fact, it's not really very fun either. But it won't stand in your way and make things difficult for you like the original did. And seeing how this is an open-world game for PSP with pretty impressive graphics, I had to add an extra half-star just for that. Still from the gameplay perspective it does not really compare to the Tenchu and Shinobido games.

Até que é legal hein
O modelo de jogos casuais pode ter a sua melhor representação nesse título, pois o que ele fornece de diversão é muito grande. Parece um jogo que vc encontra facilmente no celular? Parece! Mas estamos falando de 2010 e nem sei se na época tinham bons jogos mobile pq eu simplesmente não tinha um celular. Então, pra videogame, em 2010, um joguete casual decente.
Ele apresenta um modo campanha com 40 fases/desafios distintos que crescem em dificuldade e mais 7 modos alternativos que são temáticos. Os meus preferidos são o Pôquer que justamente vc precisa combinar as linhas de cores e elementos para formar pares, duplas, trincas e etc, e o modo escavação que me lembrou o jogo motherload, onde quanto mais se escava, mais itens e relíquias vc acha para ganhar mais pontos.
É diferente do que a gnt vê de forma bem fácil por aí nos famigerados jogos grátis de celular que são cheios de anúncios.
Bejeweled 3 dá um BANHO em muita coisa tosca do mesmo estilo que tem por aí. Foi boa a jogatina, quase completei todas as conquistas, mas pra isso eu teria que dedicar todo meu atual momento nisso, então não.

For anyone that is familiar with this series, you could probably take a good educated guess as to how the original Shinobi title for the Game Gear turned out in comparison to all of the other games in the series so far. It was basically yet another average Shinobi game, except now it was portable, and it pretty much gave exactly what you would expect from one of these games. I will give it credit, it did introduce some new elements to shake things up, like multiple playable ninjas with different abilities, as well as being able to play the main levels in any order you want, but for the most part, you knew exactly what you were going to get, giving you little reason as to want to try the game out over others. That didn’t stop the game from being successful enough to where, just one year later, Sega would do what they do best and pump out another unnecessary game in this series, this time being a direct sequel to that Game Gear title known as The G.G. Shinobi II: The Silent Fury.
Once again, going into this, I already had a pretty good idea about what to expect from this game. It was probably just gonna be yet ANOTHER typical Shinobi game, probably continuing what was introduced in the previous game, and maybe adding one or two more things to spruce it up, and whaddya know, I was exactly right. Although, to the game’s credit, I actually did end up liking this one somewhat more then the original G.G. Shinobi, and I would consider this to be the superior game of the two. It may not be too much different, and it certainly doesn’t reach the same quality as past console titles of the series, but for a Game Gear Shinobi game, it does manage to hold up quite a bit, and it was a good amount of fun.
The story is almost identical to the original game, with a new gang known as the Techno-Warriors taking over Neo City, taking the elemental crystals located there, and kidnapping your fellow ninja brethren and master, so it is up to you to rescue them and stop the gang, which is incredibly generic for a plot, but at this point, I really don’t care about the plots in this series, the graphics are pretty much exactly the same as the original G.G. Shinobi, so there is nothing more to talk about there, the music is also pretty much what you would expect from a title like this, and it is fine, but nothing you are gonna remember after playing through it, the control is the exact same as the previous game, so again, nothing to comment on there, and the gameplay is, for the most part, another typical Shinobi romp, but to its credit, there are some innovations here that do make this better than the original.
The game is a 2D action platformer, where you take control of Joe Musashi, as well as your four fellow ninja brethren, take on a set of five different stages through several locations that I swear have been used for every single Shinobi game to date, defeat plenty of enemies using whatever weapons you have, along with using your special attacks to help you out when necessary, gather plenty of health items, special attack uses, and extra lives to help you out on your journey, and defeat several tricky, yet manageable bosses along the way. When it comes to new features in this game, there really isn’t anything here to make it stand out, which may make the game undesirable compared to others, but the one thing it does have over the original is how progression is handled, as well as having much better design.
Unlike the original game, which was just a straightforward “beat the stages and then ya win” kind of game, this game actually implements elements of exploration into its design. Not only do you have to beat each stage to rescue your fellow ninjas, but you also have to locate the crystals located in each stage in order to gain access to the final stage, and this is something I really liked. It may not be that complicated, but it was a nice change of pace, actually taking the time to explore most of these levels and figuring them out in order to properly maneuver through them and get what you need. What also helps this out is the extended use of the ninjas’ unique abilities. Of course, each one of them has their own weapon and special attack that they use, which is cool enough, but they also have abilities that allow them to access parts of the level you couldn’t earlier, such as with the Pink Ninja being able to crawl on ceilings and the Yellow Ninja being able to walk on water. The game is designed to where you need to take full advantage of these abilities in order to not just beat it, but also find additional items that can increase your max life, which is something that I am always grateful to see.
However, if that doesn’t really win you over, then nothing else about this game generally will. The game may be less difficult then the original, making it more palatable, but it is still another generic Shinobi title, and seeing as this is the seventh game in the series so far, you can really feel the lack of innovation drag the entire thing down. Not to mention, it does carry several issues that I had with the original Game Gear title in this one as well, such as with the final level being a crappy maze level, and with how you have to refight the bosses again to reach the end. Thankfully, both of these elements are improved upon in this title, but honestly, I would just rather they wouldn’t be there at all, as it makes going through the last area of the game a complete slog.
Overall, despite a severe lack of change and those issues from the last title still being present, this is still a good improvement over the original game, one that changes up the formula somewhat to make for a more entertaining journey, but it is still familiar enough for those who are familiar with the series. I would recommend it for those who are big fans of the Shinobi series, as well as those who really liked the original Game Gear title, because this is essentially just more of what you liked before, and that may be all that you are looking for. But seriously, if the next Shinobi game doesn’t introduce something drastically different to the formula, then I may actually go crazy. I may be tolerant to repetition most of the time, but the repetition in this series is actually ridiculous, and I don’t think I can handle it much longer.
Game #421

tem um negócio que eu amo na última cutscene desse jogo e eu acho que pensar que ela também é o último fragmento de enredo dessa série me faz pensar em algumas coisas que me indicam o que ela tem de tão bonita
acho que por Mega Man ser esse tipo de série de "ação" com tão pouco espaço pra mover uma história expositiva e conectada à experiência mais mecânica eu comecei a valorizar muito a maneira como a série usa desses simbolismos bíblicos pra contextualizar a realidade dramática do jogo nesse estilo corrido, mas pra mim bem mais importante do que ter esses simbolismos definidos é perceber em primeiro lugar como a consciência desses simbolismos se limitam sempre a nossa existência como observador, o que pra mim faz com que Mega Man X seja uma série muito sobre viver pelos nossos sentimentos sem entender de onde eles vem, pra onde eles vão e do que eles são feitos, sobre as dores que vem disso e as decisões quase ingênuas que a gente é levado a tomar, aceitando as consequências como um outro "destino" só por que não parecia ter outra opção. acho que eu ainda paro pra ler as conversas e acompanhar a narrativa por que me toca muito observar de longe todas as interações e decisões tomadas que só são tão genuínas justamente por que elas não se reconhecem em nenhum lugar, nem como parte de papel nenhum - elas nunca tão definidas em torno de uma "temática" e uma lição que sai dali, por que é uma série que rejeita totalmente a auto-consciência. em todos os jogos o X se faz as mesmas perguntas que vem de sentir que as coisas estão "fora do lugar" e a resposta nunca vem, o Zero começa a série sendo uma figura de referência por ser poderoso e objetivo até o ponto em que ele vira uma figura igualmente frágil quando ele começa a ouvir sobre o passado dele, se fazer perguntas, a ver as mesmas coisas se repetindo, desesperado pra entender alguma coisa até perceber que isso tá muito além da realidade dele, talvez por que ele seja só um robô. ou só alguém muito imaturo pra "se perceber", se tocar. os grandes momentos da série quase sempre são uma tentativa desesperada de arrancar essas respostas de algum lugar à força e nesse processo a gente acaba tendo que por exemplo assistir o Zero (praticamente uma alegoria diabólica do visual ao pretexto) se "sacrificar" pela criação divina por que ele pensa que pode chegar e assumir esse papel de messias que não é dele - só que ele não pode, e o sacrifício não vale de nada - ou tendo que assistir o X sempre conseguindo achar um jeito de fazer o Zero voltar todas as vezes que ele morre, independente do desejo dele, independente das ligações entre ele e tudo de ruim que acontece no que ele se envolve, por que as coisas só parecem sempre piores sem ele. o negócio é que a gente não tá na cabeça desses personagens pra saber se qualquer um desses impulsos são realmente frutos de uma falta de consciência, se essa consciência é abertamente suspensa motivações pessoais, ou se eles pelo menos sentem culpa, mas no fim o que sobra são momentos e acontecimentos tão espirituosos quanto esses no final desse jogo. o novo amigo deles desmaia enquanto eles descem do elevador depois do oitavo incidente "sem significado" seguido, e só tão eles dois juntos de novo, depois de cinco jogos seguidos desde que foi concretizado que a paz dependia da morte do Zero e de três desde que essa paz foi rejeitada por que ter ele por perto parecia melhor.
acho que não encontro muito espaço pra falar dessas camadas nesses jogos assim (muito por ter muito mais jogos "de gameplay" do que story-drivens catalogados) e acho que tem a ver também com a postura que a gente adota pra conversar de videogame na internet que é sempre muito defensiva, sempre tendo que se direcionar ao "cerne" numa argumentação que "justifique seu gosto" dentro dos termos de um engajamento utilitarista, mas eu realmente acho que tudo isso deixa todo Mega Man X muito mais bonito, mesmo que meu tempo investido com ele não dependa tanto disso quanto da gameplay.
e acho que eu devia falar mais também sobre como muitas vezes narrativas de videogames funcionam pra mim como um tipo de leitura que se incorpora ao plano estético do jogo, mais do que como uma discussão produzida em torno dela dentro de si mesma. volta e meia eu comento que gosto da "historinha" (termo covarde) de muitos jogos que pessoas dizem que o enredo é uma porcaria mas é quase sempre por eu gostar das coisas que me transmitem ver os personagens interagindo e se comportando diante dos contextos que são colocados e não por que eu espero ser recompensado com uma conclusão ou com comentários sobre algo (mesmo que esses surjam naturalmente até nessas perspectivas)

I must own up to the fact that I misjudged Risk of Rain Returns a bit in my first review. Some points I made still hold true for me (like right/left aiming and the rope mechanics), but other than that I think it is very addicting and fun. I wanted to let it rest for a while, but I couldn't, so here we are.
RoRR is just as addicting as RoR2 is, and does actually improve a bunch upon RoR1. After finishing the initial 2 stages, speed ramps up and the game feels very satisfying. I must say, the only real tactic for this is kiting, dodging, shooting etc. etc., but it's impossible to design it in a different way in a 2D environment.
The challenges in the form of Providence Trials were (controversily) refreshing and fun, despite people hating on it. I think it shows off new abilities and items very well, and puts you into a new perspective like manoeuvring through spaces and tactically using skills. That being said...
The Final Judgement trial needs some tweaking for sure. The only thing that messed me up in that challenge were the first two stages due to overly-present elite enemies. However, I also think that it is difficult in a fun way, because you actually have to tactically use skills instead of avoiding-spamming enemies all the time.
The thing I am definitely most excited for is the music and hidden art pieces, which are out of this world. I never really read item or enemy descriptions in Roguelites/Roguelikes, but these are very interesting and add to the overall world building.
If you like RoR2, I would still recommend for you to wait for a new update with improved aiming mechanics, unless you want to learn them really badly (just makes it more difficult). After that, you will definitely like it a lot.

curto, simples, divertido e com um bom level design

4 ⭐️
Technically this is still in early access so can’t say it’s finished just yet, but with Act 5 out it seems mostly content complete. And what’s here is really good, very creative rhythm game that makes just tapping one button much more difficult than it would seem
The goal is to tap on the seventh beat of the song, but it tries its best to distract you from that with the visuals for each stage. Trying to pay attention to the beat while also looking at the level’s really cool, especially for certain ones throughout that caught me off guard. And as it goes it’ll start adding new beats to listen to that can quickly ramp up what you’ll need to keep track of. Hopefully there’s a bit more levels to look forward to before it’s officially released

Yeah this really isn't for me, sorry
And I hate saying that since this is one of the most unique, creative, and beautiful games I've played in a while. There's layers upon layers of micro-systems and game tech that makes progression far more surprising then any AAA game on the market. It's character and world design is timeless, and incredibly imaginative with captivating portraits and sprite work. Literally anything and everything can be it's own fantasy race in this world. Yet this game asks a lot from the player, but not in time nor difficulty.
This is a PS1 game, which are well known for being experimental and unorthodox (compliment). Seriously, anything goes during that era of gaming. Nowadays there are a lot of "rules" on how to do things. What is considered "good design" or "bad design" feels established and settled, at least when speaking about the big studios. Despite the many, many issues of modern game design, there is some precedent on why games are the way they are now, and that's convenience and clarity. You're almost never lost on where you can go, what you can do, and how to do it. And I feel you need a certain level of tolerance to truly get the most out of this game in particular, if you aren't one to play the more unconventional games often (Hi that's me). If you aren't paying attention, you can skip text directing you on where to go for your current quest and there isn't a way to replay what you missed. Entire sub-systems are locked due to specific quests you may or may not ever complete. Systems and tutorials are explained in text monologues, again sometimes just once, but are also just not the way I learn the best in any context. That isn't to say it's impossible to proceed if you weren't paying attention, but it'll involve a lot of backtracking, repeatedly talking to the same NPC till you exhausted their dialouge, hugging the wall on these beautiful backgrounds to scroll the screen over and find a new area you would've missed otherwise... I hope you don't mind getting lost. And not just with figuring out what to do but also where you are since these dungeons, unfortunately, reuse room layouts within the very same dungeon. It's genuinely disorienting to me, and apart from maybe the first area I could not for the life of me create a mental map of any of these places. Enemies also respawn the instant you leave a room, but thankfully you can disable encounters. However, that actually messes me up even more with my sense of direction because enemy encounters are fixed; so I would walk in a room, see a familiar formation, and realized I've been here before. Not all dungeons are this bad with the issue, but despite the gorgeous art direction, exploring these places grew pretty tiring. What, I felt, tried to be wonderous yet daunting with its winding dungeons, grew to be annoying and directionless. But "directionless" I feel is kind of the point. (EDIT: Not a fan of using the word "directionless" in this context, but for a lack of a better word I guess it works).
Here's the thing, the game's progression is RNG... well sort of. It's technically consistent, but you sure as Hell ain't figuring that out on a first playthrough so it might as well be random. The world map is created by you, and by placing artifacts found by completing quests in different areas onto the map, you can create whatever layout you desire. The placement of these locations influences a lot of things, including what artifacts you receive from a quest and even the availability of quests. I think, without a extremely specific setup, it isn't feasible to find everything on one playthrough (EDIT: It seems straight up impossible actually, game isn't too long for one playthrough so they took that into account ar least According to @moschidae, it is possible to do it all in one playthrough, just have be careful to not softlock any quests. My mistake). Assuming you weren't copying exactly what I did in where I placed my artifacts, your playthrough of this game will be different from mine.
But if that's the case, then how does the main story proceed? It doesn't. That's the crux and, arguably, the main attraction of this game. There isn't a strong central goal other then "explore and adventure". There is a ending, but more than most other games is this a "It's about the journey" game. Annnnd... that's why I didn't jive with this game. I couldn't find a hook to latch onto to keep me engaged the whole way through. That isn't to say there isn't any story to be found. Faaaaaar from it. There's heaps of characters, quests, and lore to sink your teeth into. But everything is more bite-sized. Some quests are multi-parter that carries a more intricate plot, but there's no real central thread connecting them altogether. No not counting your player character, whose more of an observer than someone integral to the world (until someone decides to pull you into the story). That isn't a bad thing, many games do that, but bottom-line my interest in continuing was waning only three hours in since I couldn't find anything that really caught my attention enough for the entire runtime. There were so many neat tidbits, but they weren't enough.
And then there's the gameplay. As mentioned it has tons of mechanics from learning movement and weapon skills, to crafting magic instruments, raising monsters from when they were eggs, creating your own golem with a massively intricate system, and so much more... but this game was way too easy to care about any of that. It comes off as superfluous when I almost never needed the extra help since store-bought weapons and armor was all I really needed. OK, learning skills from how you fight during combat was neat, but stun-locking foes and bosses are way too easy. With the fists especially, you can jab so many things from 100% to death. Plus you have a lot of health and deal a crapload of damage. Why should I invest myself in these systems if the game doesn't put much of a fight? OK, there was one boss that had a shockwave attack that killed me from full health, but after learning it's generous tell I never got hit by it again. I had to look this up as I was scripting this part, and there is a hardmode, but only after beating the game once. Yeah I don't like that. The first playthrough was confusing and unchallenging, I don't have any desire to try it again. While the combat feedback was nice (being able to throw even the biggest of bosses is admittedly pretty cool), it just wasn't enough to make me care about it overall.
I hate writing these reviews since I see the audience for this kind of game. It's a game the gives back the more you put into it. It rewards multiple playthroughs exponentially with new scenarios and surprises. It has a superb soundtrack that I'll probably be listening to for a long time. It's sense of discovery can be infectious for those who love to dive deep into a game. And I normally loves games like those, but man this just didn't do it for me. I didn't enjoy myself much with the initial run, sad to say.
Best advice I can give is to give it a look to see if it looks interesting, but beware as the surprises and secrets are part of its charm. I've seen people absolutely adore this game, this has the potential to be one of your favorite games ever. While yes, that can be said about practically every game, you also won't find a game like this anywhere else.

I don't need the final boss telling me how many continues it took me to reach him. That's none of his business.

This review contains spoilers

with longer games, after a first playthrough, it tends to be harder to retain everything that happened even just immediately afterwards. there's a lot of games where i'll remember some big moments and then go 'oh yeahhhhh' when i come back to them later
so what really struck me about earthbound was how i could more or less list its entire sequence of events in chronological order, the pacing is quite relaxed but none of it feels like filler, there's a lot put into making ever segment something that stands out, the definitive game about some scrunklies going on an adventure
mother 3 retains this quality and then some, now with marked chapters that have names, and perspectives from different playable characters, particularly at the start of the game, chapter 1 makes such an impression juxtaposing lucas' introduction being a calm and typical day playing with his brother, with his father and the people of tazmily village dealing with a forest fire in the middle of the night, it's such a unique way to introduce the game's characters and the tragedy that befalls flint afterwards is so unexpected given the way game started out just an hour before. deftly balancing all sorts of light and dark tones has always been one of my favourite qualities of the series, and mother 3 might be the very best at it. there are instances where the game's humour crops up at inappropriate times, such as the funeral near the start having a load of puns on the headstones there, and i generally don't find it as funny as the first two games, but it also evokes some of the most euphoric joy and deep sadness in me out of all three games, and also most other games for that matter
there are so many parts of this game i know will be etched into my mind forever, chapter 3 starring salsa the monkey would be an amazing short story on its own, my favourite part of it is how in the combat, you're very weak on your own, and rely upon your abusive owner to get by in a situation that he's put you in, the way that dynamic comes across organically through gameplay is just really cool. i also love the part where you have to deliver the boxes, you have to find the recipients' houses yourself, and everyone other than them that you talk to sort of turn their nose up and want nothing to do with you, you're promised a reward of a 'luxury banana' if you can deliver them in under 20 minutes or something, and whether you achieve that or not, you're denied it once you return, and fassad proceeds to take one bite out of it and throw it away, it's great stuff and serves as a microcosm of the kind of place tazmily village is about to become
lucas never quite fit in, and still doesn't after the town he grew up in becomes a dystopian hellhole. (you have to pay for stuff) after losing his mother and brother, and growing distant from his father as a result, he's completely reliant upon himself (and his dog) and isn't led astray like the rest of tazmily, which ends up making him the hero, along with the rest of his band of misfits, a tomboyish false princess, and a handicapped thief
this theme of outsiders saving the world continues with the characters known as the magypsies, but they aren't nearly as successful at supporting it and are definitely my least favourite aspect of the game, with their designs and personalities all being based on stereotypes of crossdressers, and quite a few poor taste jokes made at their expense which can also come across as transphobic. as a trans woman myself i wasn't terribly offended personally but i was rolling my eyes at quite a few parts and it's probably the only caveat i'd mention when recommending the game
you experience firsthand the horrible mundanity the residents of tazmily now endure, with a day of backbreaking labour, pushing people molded from clay to go get electrocuted back to life after effectively dying from exhaustion, then being sent right back to work, and going to club titiboo at the end of the day which the workers seem to be addicted to, and then you go on to break into various facilities belonging to the pigmasks and discover the horrible experiments that are being conducted, the ones you see most often are animals being taken apart and combined with parts of other animals or machinery to make chimeras, under the juvenile premise that animals are boring and they're being made much more AWESOME now, and once you eventually you meet the man at the very top, you'll find that he views people in the same way
after you take a 'break' with a more traditional video game quest of finding the seven needles, returning to the now abandoned tazmily village, and then later being chauffeured to the nightmare that is new pork city becomes even more of a whiplash, and you discover that the source of all this is an old man, with the mind of a small, spoilt child, with all the time in the world and everything he could ever want, now acting only out of nihilistic boredom, the way this is all built up to and paid off is absolutely incredible, the final chapter of this game is simply just one of the best in a video game
i won't spoil any more of the ending than that, mostly because it's 1am and i'm very tired and feel like i'm rambling, but also because it'd probably be pointless anyway; the experience of playing it is far beyond the scope of any words i could write, mother 3 is every bit the game i was always told it was, and i'm very glad to have finally played it and count it amongst some of my absolute favourites

As a huge Robocop fan this game was high on my list of things I really wanted to get excited for but just didn't because I've been burned before in the past and hype always leads to disappointment. So it's very fulfilling to finally get to play a Robocop game that's not only really good but also has that classic charm that I always loved from the movies.
It's not perfect, it's very much a cheapo AA game trying very hard to reach those AAA highest with the small budget they have, and I'd be lying if I said the game did a great job with its handling of the police. On the one hand I really like how you as Robocop get the choice to either follow the laws dictated by your programing and fine people breaking the law, or you can follow your other directive which is serving the public which usually involves letting people off with a warning. This pretty much implies that the laws set in Detroit don't really make the city a better place and help the citizens, and more so are set to benefit the super evil mega corporation that owns the city. It's a lot more political than I thought this game was gonna go and I'm kinda impressed they went for it, I just wish the actual portrayal of the police was a tiny bit better. I didn't really have much thoughts on their portrayal for a majority of the game but by the end they kinda pull a Robocop 3 and have the police become "the shining light that will save the city from the city destroying gang warfare", which almost turned me off the ending. (which if I'm being real here for a sec is kinda an issue with Robocop as a concept not just 3.)
Other than that though this is everything I could've ever wanted from a Robocop video game. I thought I was gonna get a decent game that did nothing more than your basic fan pandering of famous moments from the movies, and while it does do that; you can also tell the devs behind the game have a deep love for Robocop and a firm understand of what that movie is and isn't. That's what makes games like this stick out among the trash like Hogwarts Legacy or Shadow of Mordor, games that have the appearance of love and appreciation for the source material but finding it only goes skin deep, not actually appreciating the narrative or characters of said story and more so just saying "oh wow isn't Hogwarts Castle pretty" or "aren't goes wacky Orcs the funniest''. Honestly I'd put this up there with games like Arkham City, or the Aqua Teen Hunger Force game in terms of game that perfectly capture the tone and spirit of its source material.

I respect the history behind Duck Hunt. How the earlier projector-based versions of the game reflects some of Nintendo's first experiments with releasing interactive electronic games and selling that to consumers. The inherently videogamey qualities, like music and animation, lend the game so much charm. That said, it's basically something you'd try on Wii Play for five minutes and never think of again your entire life.
Duck Hunt has three game modes. Game A features one duck at a time, and you can fire three shots before they fly away. B features two ducks at a time. This is all pretty easy. The ducks are pretty large and fly in straight lines until they bounce off the side of the screen. There's no end until you mess up too many shots, and if you're decent at lightgun games, it could be well over half an hour before you see a Game Over. The Zapper is a nice gun that carries much of the visual style of the early NES stuff, and there's a satisfying heft to each pull of the trigger, though I'm thinking of opening mine up and spraying some WD40 on the 35-year-old internal spring mechanism that reverberates with each shot.
Game C is both more interesting, and less interesting. The cartoon Duck Hunt Duo are gone, and it doesn't carry as much charm, but the gameplay's a tad more interesting. This is clay pigeon shooting. A beep is sounded, and two targets are flung through the air. You have three shots to hit both of them, and they become harder to hit the longer you wait. I find they're easiest to hit at the peak of their arc through the air, steadying themselves for a second. It's easily the biggest challenge in the game, and I frequently found myself using the Zapper's sights to line up my third shot, but it's still a little too simplistic to compete with 90s lightgun action. I went through 18 rounds of Game C without really trying. It's more of an endurance test than a test of skill. Play long enough, and you naturally start trying stupid trick shots, firing from the hip and spinning around before taking your shot. I suppose this game could serve as good practice for someone who hopes to become incredibly cool.
There's reasons to like Duck Hunt. It can work particularly well if you're taking turns with another player. The iconography is definitely likeable, and they did a great job of fleshing that all out in Super Smash Bros for Wii U. I like the ducks, I like the dog, I like that I can pretend that they're just playing along with me and nobody's actually getting killed. It's just too static and plain too really hold your attention for long. Even alongside the bulk of the early NES library, it's disappointingly simple. Any of Time Crisis 2's minigames hold more depth and excitement.
It's natural for NES-owning lightgun fans to want a Zapper and Duck Hunt. They're a crucial part of the genre's history. Just don't expect too much from it if you actually go through with it, though. I'm still trying to distract myself from the fact I spent £40 on a boxed copy.

yep its goated. probably a must-play for anyone, a masterclass of horror and pretty much everything else it does

There is something at work in my soul, which I do not understand.
Thy Creature is a Mary Shelley's Frankenstein inspired video game, in which you play as the infamous nameless monster on a journey to discover the truth of his origin. Unexpectedly coming into contact with others- meeting them and delving into their memories, slowly unraveling the burden and joys of a human nature he is not quite sure he has. Instead of a direct translation of story to game like MAZM's other title, Thy Creature seems divorced from the source; curating its own world with its own charm. A space that focuses more on the emotional history of every living thing in the game rather than looking up at violence for a climax- which is unexpected considering this is a bullet hell. I was not expecting for it to be so melancholic or as touching as it was, somewhat choppy translation aside. There is so much unfiltered creativity here, the mind you have to have to even think to turn Frankenstein's monster into a sexy man with long white anime hair is a great one indeed. I cant really speak its praises enough, every character in the game was visually unique and easily differentiated; unafraid to interact with things like body weight and age. MAZM's visual presentation is always very strong, and it shined here in every way. Playing it I really did feel like I stepped into someones fantasy- it's kind of hard to explain but I cant help but to be very fond of it. I loved everything it did and tried to do in every aspect of the game. A very heartfelt and loving outlook on this world and everything in it.
If I had two critiques...I wish it would of said more with its memory flashbacks, as at a certain point sometimes it becomes a bit repetitive (Chris likes drinking, Leon loves the sea) and I wish I could of seen more of their world building in any way I can. And secondly, though this is probably a budget related issue, the stages in which you have to use the scissors are very tedious and teetered on feeling unbeatable. Cutting things really should be snappier and involve less A button spam. Other than that, this puzzle/bullet hell hybrid is something I've never seen before and should be, if anything else, praised for its originality in every way. Its fun and rewarding, not too short and not too long. Nearly perfect, so I really do hope MAZM goes on to get more funding and work on a bigger scale. I have my fingers crossed for Dracula next.

not too late to make sure your children aren't being indoctrinated by Canadians

Yep, as everybody and their mom knows, Bloodborne is that guy. I've tried getting into it multiple times in the past but it never clicked like it did this time. So, I finally get it. Bloodborne is a masterfully crafted experience from top to bottom. The stunning world and level design, the visceral combat including that immensely satisfying pistol stun mechanic. The excellent DLC, adding some of the best bosses in the game is an absolute must too. Overall, it is such an enthralling and well paced journey, yet it still left me wanting even more by the end...



For a long while, I considered Zaeed to be the worst of the companion DLCs, but after finally finishing Sebastian Vael's questlines, I'm now retracting that sentiment. At least Zaeed has a bit of a personality beyond his initial archetype unlike Sebastian who doesn't really feel like he's grown one way or another, and at least his one quest does everything necessary with an indicative moment of character growth for both you and him, compared to the three separate ones Sebastian hands you in each arc that doesn't necessary reach a concrete endstate.
Really, Exiled Prince is a microcosm of all the issues plaguing DA2. His quests revolve around basic dungeon crawling of (majorly) samey environments that (majorly) take too long to finish, his backstory - an evangelical Chantry follower due to the rather belligerent upstart he had as a Starkhaven royal - and the arc that's proposed from this doesn't come into full fruition, the lore and worldbuilding that he and the Chantry introduces never materialize into anything substantial within the context of the main narrative, and the Friendship-Rivalry points regarding these spokes are harder to nab due to complications arising if they happen to contradict with the personality and mindset you established upon Hawke (eg: my Hawke is mainly a mage advocate due to his upbringing and only rebuts if absolutely necessary, yet feels as if the Chantry is not the best place for Sebastian and wants to push him back to Starkhaven; his Act 3 quest is able to give a grand total of 45 extra Rivalry points, but only if I kept besmirching the Mages), and considering you can't even properly recruit him until the start of Act 2, that makes fully cementing him as a Friend or Rival that much harder. This is the second time I had to use console commands to increase the side I wanted, but at least in the other case that was just me being lazy and not wanting to redo hours of progress to gather a measly 5 points before the cutoff point, and doing so got me to better appreciate that companion's ordeal which made it worth the cheat; here I felt like I could've just left the bars as they were, and would've lost absolutely nothing. All of this would simply be a bitter pill to swallow if he was, at the very least, a decent combatant, but even in these terms he falls short. He's the ugly middle of Isabela's DPS hit-and-run approach as well as Varric's jack-of-trades strength/support archery - the same style Sebastian has, btw - meaning I never felt inclined to bring him along unless I absolutely had to.
I read on the DA Wiki that this was supposed to feature Nathaniel Howe, and that the narrative would've revolved around these two, but this had to be dropped due to contingencies regarding his potential passing in the Awakening expansion. I checked its sourced link, and while I've yet to find anything else to back this up, the fact this was released day-and-date with the base game (yea this means this is another awful case of that practice), knowing that ME2 and later ME3 would have similar change of plans, and Nathaniel's Act 3 cameo appearance feeling rather phoned in while occupying space with another, vaguely related Act 2 questline if he didn't make it after Awakening's conclusion, I can't exactly say I'm surprised something like this was theorized to begin with. Would this have helped him? Who knows, but at least it would've been nice to have a bit of chewing on if everything else was this unexciting, aside from the super brief cameo Leliana had at the tailend anyway. Nowadays, on PC, you're able to get every DLC of this game alongside every new purchase, so I can't say it's too frustrating of a deal, but at the same time the content within is so bare, you might as well just pretend it doesn't exist. In fact, here's something comedic: this and Black Emporium were the two D1DLCs for this game, yet the latter is (was too iirc) free with all new copies, it also had more beneficiary gains and inclusions that makes the overall ride a tad smoother to complete. Sebastian got beat out by a dog and an enigmatic old fuck of a Greek allegory. That's just, downright pathetic and hilarious.

bem mediano, o plutonia tem alguns pontos legais apesar das armadilhas mas o tnt não tem nada que se salve, as fases são enormes e tediantes

Gonna be real here guys, I liked this a little bit more then the first game but overall it's still about on par with the first one. Yes it's stripped down the combat like......a lot. But to be honest a lot of the stuff they trimmed was kinda superfluous for the most part and all the stuff they kept in was fine tuned to a point where I didn't really miss the old moves. I really like how the game handles its upgrades now, instead of getting xp and picking out your upgrades in a skill tree you acquire skills and moves from doing side missions and finding collectibles scattered around the map. You could say this makes upgrading a tedious slog but if anything they just made it more streamlined and simple, taking away the need to grind ridiculous amounts of XP to get one late game move.
Honestly that's how I'd describe the whole game, more simple and streamlined. Which I guess depending on who you are and whether or not you liked the first Prototype this is either the worst game ever or just forgettable. I however just thought it was a more fun experience overall.
Also the main character is really funny. James Heller is about as forgettable as Alex Mercer but the only reason I enjoyed him more then Alex was mainly down to how the game presents them. Alex was this cool stone cold killer who has a lost past, he's so edgy and evil isn't he a badass, meanwhile James is written like how a 17 year old would write his badass loner "He lost his wife and daughter to the new Mercer virus, now suffering with super PTSD he now serves only one purpose in his life, Killing Alex Mercer." It's so generic and stupid it's kinda funny. James's whole character most of the time is that he's always angry and on the verge popping a blood vessel, he says "the fuck word" so many times in this game it borderlines on comical. My favorite line in the whole game is when James is trying to hack a computer and he's getting so mad that he just starts going off in the funniest way possible.
James: I'm at the computer. What do I press.?
Father Guerra: First you need to......
James: I'm pressing the red button. SHIT. Now the screens all fucked up. Shits broken.
Father Guerra: Okey now press the "alternate" key, "A" "L" "T", "alternate"...
James: Alt? There is no fucking alt. I got a fucking squiggly line key, I got a fucking key with a triangle on it. What the fuck kind of keybored is this anyway?
I laughted so hard at this I thought I was gonna pass out. It's not good....but man it's so funny.
I guess overall I liked this more than the first game, but personally I think their about the same in terms of quality, that being their both just decent.

To get the obvious out of the way, this isn't a good Devil May Cry game and the writing in general trying to make the characters edgelords made going through the story a little hard in places.
There are other decisions which were questionable, like Dante's redesign making him look more akin to a highschool jock. And not to mention the game's ending. That came out of nowhere and was a travesty.
There also were some occasionally annoying camera angles which made things a little frustrating. Luckily, most of them were only present in mission 17.
Although it happend rarely, enemies got stuck in certain places and that make a few combat segments a little awkward.
Then there was the issue of being able to accumulate a high amount of style points simply by button mashing, which indirectly discouraged coming up with cool combos and sticking to more basic moves instead.
With that said, if you can ignore that this game is called Devil May Cry and try to treat it as its own thing, it's pretty enjoyable gameplay-wise. I personally had a pretty good time at least.
You have a pretty good variety of weapons and the game throws new stuff at you pretty often, which means it never gets monotonous.
Some weapons might not be your thing and that's alright, as you can, in most instances, remove weapon upgrades from one weapon and place them on another if you don't quite enjoy what you invested in.
While the overall combat isn't as deep as one might be accustomed to from this series (don't expect to be making that DMC5 combo video we all saw in this game) there are still some pretty neat things you can do with all the weapon variety.
The Overall level design is good. Areas, more often than not, have some pretty cool set pieces and visually look good.
Opinions, from what I've read, seem to be mixed on the platforming sections but I personally enjoyed them.
Bosses also felt fun to play against.
Overall, not a good DMC game, but a good game( though still with a bad story) when you try not to pay attention to the franchise it belong to. You could say that that puts it in the category of games like Quake 4 and Doom 3, in a way.

You know I was gonna give a short review since this got a fan translation but it seems I got beat out by a couple of people, oh well I might as well say my opinion.
I've never seen the source material for this Anime, I've been aware of it, just never had time to watch it. Usually I like to get into before I delve into stuff like games but I'll make this the exception.
In the past I've talked about the first Sailor Moon game on GB and that one had this interesting first level where you'd walk all over town talking to people, doing side minigames, or just advancing the story. This game feels like that level but it's way better and it's the whole game.
You'll go around town talking to NPCs, playing minigames, or helping people out so you can get the Dream Pearls. There's only 10 in the game though I only had to collect 8 so if there is a way you can get more or less I'm not aware. The town is also not too big, it's easy to get around the place.
When it comes to the minigames it's a mixed bag. I don't think they're all bad but some can be not that fun or just have flaws like in the platforming ones where I feel the hitbox on the character is too big. They also might be too simple for people. There's also no checkpoints so for stuff like the detective one or the final part of the game, you have to do it in one go. Though since this was probably meant for kids, it's usually pretty easy outside of some jank like I've mentioned.
The game graphically looks inconsistent. It has moments of looking good with special shoutouts going to the transformation sequence. It's really a beauty. Then you have sprites where the eyes aren't colored so they just change to whatever the background there on is meaning you get stuff like completely blue eye Champ. It probably could be better for 1992. The ending dance you see in the credits is also pretty cute. The music isn't the most interesting but I do like the town theme, it's pretty catchy.
This game won't really impress anyone but for a licensed game it could be much worse. I probably am going too soft on it but I enjoyed my time with this short game. It has a nice vibe to it and I'm sure some fans of the source material or even children will get some enjoyment out of this one. Wouldn't really say it's a must play but with a new fan translation it wouldn't hurt to at least check it out if curious.

Ys VI : A New Hope
After the release of Ys V and the mixed reception that it received, Falcom entered a bit of a creative slump not just when it came to the series but their general output as a company. None of the founding members were left at the company and the Falcom of the mid-90’s and onward was a vastly different studio than it was back then. Aside from releasing the next two games of the Gagharv trilogy which saw great success both in Japan and especially in South Korea, the company just wasn’t able to make new IP’s or even new games for that matter.
This was the start of a long era of Falcom just porting their old classics on newer hardware instead of making new games. During that time however, Falcom launched a lot of recruitment campaigns, boasting how great it was to work at Falcom (it was not, just for the record, there’s a reason literally all of the creative staff left the company and I’m pretty sure that even to this day it’s not a very pleasant work environment). These campaigns managed to bring on board a couple of really talented people notably two persons, one was Makoto Shinkai which we already mentioned in a previous review who did some stunning job animating and directing animated cutscenes for Falcom’s recent releases at the time.
Shinkai will leave the company shortly after the release of the PS2 version of Ys 1&2 to become the famous movie director that we know today but the other big guy Falcom recruited and perhaps the most important one was Toshihiro Kondo. Kondo was, like most of Falcom’s new recruit at the time, a massive fan of Falcom’s early output but he wasn’t just a mere fan, he was THE Falcom fan ! Ever since he was a child, Kondo loved playing RPGs such as Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy and while he has heard about Ys 1&2 through some of his friends talking about it at school, it’s when he picked up Ys III at a friends house that the trajectory of his life changed forever.
After the release of “Legend of Heroes 3 : Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch” which became his favorite game of all time, Kondo who was at university at the time decided to launch a website for Falcom fans to gather, discuss on-going news about the company and sharing tips and tricks for the different games. Kondo got enough of a reputation with his fan website that working at Falcom wasn’t a pipe-dream anymore but a tangible reality and so he applied at Falcom as an accountant. Falcom however knew about his activities online and how he managed his fansite and since he was the only guy at the time who knew anything about the Internet, he was tasked to code websites to promote the different new releases of the company.
But at the same time, the younger staff at Falcom including Kondo were starting to get fed up with just releasing ports of old games and localizing South Korean RPG’s, they wanted more, they were getting ambitious and thus they stopped working on yet another port of Ys III to ask the CEO if they could start working on new games. Masayuki Kato was skeptical about the process, it’s been a while since Falcom hasn’t released a genuinely ambitious banger and Falcom didn’t have any sort of brand recognition anymore so he wasn’t sure any new release would take off. But against all odds, he accepted, splitting the company in two to make a subsidiary entirely dedicated to the development of new games.
First order of business was releasing the first new Falcom IP since 1994 ending up in the release of “Zwei : The Arges Adventure '' in 2001 releasing alongside the latest release of Ys 1&2 which inspired the team to do one crazy thing. It was time to bring Ys back, it was time for Adol to set out for a new adventure, an adventure that could very well be its last if the game couldn’t meet sales potential and proof that people were still interested in the franchise. For Falcom, it was about going big or going home… and they went big !
Released for PC in 2003 and in 2005 on the PS2 for the rest of the world (the first time a new entry in the series was released in the west since Ys III all the way back in the 80’s btw), this new entry served both as a continuation of Adol’s Adventure in Ys V (tho chronologically it is now placed after Ys VIII) but also a sort of soft-reboot for the series. The game dev division at Falcom was composed of a small number of employees so you can definitely guess that Ys VI wasn’t going to compete with the rest of the industry. In 2003 and especially in 2005, there were a lot of good or even great JRPG’s on the market, especially of the action variety.
The philosophy of Falcom at the time (and something that has just barely changed ever since) was that they were fully aware they were making cheap games of smaller technical ambition but what they didn’t had in graphical or game design prowess, they were compensating with original and experimental ideas and a fuck lot of generosity even in their smaller less ambitious titles ! And while Ys VI definitely is starting to show its age in some areas, it nonetheless follows that line of logic.
For Ys VI, Falcom decided to built an entirely new engine that will retrospectively be known as the “Ark Engine” in reference to Ys VI subtitle : “The Ark of Napishtim”, an engine they will use for a grand majority of both their Ys and Trails line-up of games until 2012. And with a new engine comes a brand new artstyle, the series abandon its traditional top-down view in favor of a blend of pre-rendered 2D sprites (not unlike those of Donkey Kong Country to make a comparison) and 3D environment with fixed camera angle, a style reminiscent of many games of the mid 90’s such as Grandia or Xenogears.
But a new engine also meant a drastic change in the gameplay department. Bump combat was already a thing of the past the series desperately clinged onto and couldn’t fully transition from in 1995 and even with the release of Ys 1&2 Eternal a year earlier which reboosted interest in Ys and its peculiar mechanics, it was time for change ! Big Changes ! Ys VI is for all intents and purposes an extension of what was done with Ys V.
Adol now swings his sword with an actual attack button and can jump for some good old platforming but contrary to Ys V which had very slow deliberate control putting Adol at a full stop each time he wants to attack, here in Ys VI, Adol rushes to the enemies with a fast 3 hit combo that can sometimes be completed by a different finisher based on which sword you currently have equipped. On top of that, you can do an aerial attack as well as a very effective down trust but also a weird kind of situational plunge attack with a very weird and strict activation process (you need to move, wait, then move and attack at the same time it’s really weird).
Later in your adventure you will be able to find 3 different elemental swords which are going to be your main arsenal for the adventure. Each of them changes your playstyle, the water sword keeps your regular moveset but adds a circular attack at the end of your combo, the flame sword makes your attack stronger at the cost of the combo being slower and the thunder sword allows you to attack faster at the cost of power. On top of that and replacing the cumbersome magic system of Ys V, your sword can unleash a powerful magic attack once their magic gauge is filled up, adding a bit more tool to your already new arsenal.
All of this results in a much more dynamic and fun battle system which captures the fast momentum of the older bump-style game while also adding more complexities to the different enemy encounters in the game who now have a vast array of different behaviors that isn't just “walking randomly on the map, aggroing you and sometimes launching a very easily dodgeable attack”. With the added platforming and the 3rd dimension, the level design is also much more complex and interesting than in the other titles and Ys VI boasts some of the best dungeon and overworld area design the series has seen up to that point which is definitely helped by the setting of this game.
In this new adventure, Adol is wanted by the Romun Empire who chases after him and Dogi as they are chilling at a bar. They’re saved in the nick of time by Terra, one of the pirate bandit girls from Ys V who was following Adol after reconciling herself with her father, a famous pirate by the name of Adoc. Adoc is searching for a treasure that seems to be found on an Island inside of something known as the vortex of Canaan in what could be this universe equivalent of the Bermudan Triangle. Dogi thought that it was crazy to attempt such an expedition as no ship has ever survived the Vortex but Adol is still interested by the process and accepts to cross the Vortex. As they approached the Vortex however, they’re attacked by the Romun empire once again and Adol ends up shipwrecked on the island of Canaan when 2 Elf-Like girls by the name of Isha an Olha find him and bring him to the village of the Redha, the indigenous species native to the island.
At first, Adol isn’t welcomed as the Redha are in some sort of a conflict with humans as some of the castaways built a human settlement near the village which has sparked up conflict between the two villages and created many tensions over ressources and such but as you progress through the came and find a common ground between the two factions, he starts warming up to you ! So you’re off on your adventure, trying to find a way out of the island, find your friends and uncover the mysteries which inhabit it.
Ys VI definitely makes a drastic shift towards a more narratively driven story than its predecessor, whereas the old games will sometimes just have a short intro to contextualize your adventure before immediately sending you off, here the game takes his time to establish the setting, the characters and the overall mystery of the Island. The Island of Canaan by itself is the most complex and thoroughly interesting setting in the entire setting up to that point not only from a gameplay level as the layout of the area is pretty open and let you go pretty much anywhere with the only limit being how much hit can you take from stronger enemies but also a ton of small secrets, puzzles and platforming challenges to participate in which makes the Canaan Island the most fun place to visit in the series this far.
But also in terms of its lore, Ys VI serves as some sort of semi-reboot of the series and pretty much serve the same purpose as “Dawn of Ys” when it comes to fleshing out the universe of the series by finding connections to older titles and re-contextualize certain parts of Adol’s previous adventure with some clever and pretty interesting retcons. In fact, some elements from Ys IV were kept to explain the origins of the two goddesses of Ys and their relationship to the Eldeen but instead of being a race of gods, you discover that the Eldeen was instead a technologically advanced civilization who managed to put their souls inside of artificial bodies made of Emelas, the new super metal the franchise has introduced to explain pretty much everything in the franchise.
During your exploration of the Island, you will meet with Geis, a mercenary in search of his brother Ernst and investigating the titular “Ark of Napishtim” the game story is centered around, I mention him because the guy becomes kind of a rival character to Adol, showing up in a couple of entries after this game. I like Geis, the dude’s cool and he has 3 homonculus fairies showing that Falcom isn’t fully erasing the possibility of revisiting Ys V in the future (and boy are they teasing that Ys V remake…). Overall, I really enjoyed the story in this one, it’s fun, it calls for your sense of wonder and adventures. It doesn’t fail to have a few really cool symbolic moments the likes of Ys 1&2 and I’d say that as far as reimagining the series lore for the modern age goes, this one does plenty of cool stuff with the established continuity while still being an excellent jumping point for newcomers.
But as much as I can praise Ys VI for reviving the franchise and mostly succeeding in the process, Ys VI definitely suffers from “1st game syndrome” at times which makes a lot of the execution of these ideas leaving a lot to be desired. For starters while the game is around the same length as your average Ys title at the time (around 10h I’d say) making it a somewhat short and sweet experience, the game suffers from a lot of padding mostly coming from gameplay decisions which can grind on your nerves over time. I mentioned that Ys VI was perhaps one of the more “free” Ys games to date because of all the exploration you can do and how the game allows you to visit certain areas before you can reasonably go there but the way the game gates your progression is a bit wack at times.
Ys has always put an emphasis on its leveling system, with levels pretty much serving both as a difficulty slider and a way to gate keep progress, except that Ys VI will ask of you to do a lot of grinding much more so than any titles. In fact not being at the appropriate level for an area means you’re going to do 0 damages to enemies and while you could be avoiding them just to reach a chest with a neat piece of equipment or a cool accessory or items earlier on, oftentimes the trouble isn’t really worth the effort which I can say for another annoying mechanic…
Dash Jumping…
Dash Jumping isn’t required to beat the game but if you’re like me and want to explore every nook and cranny of the world, you WILL have to master the ancient technique of Dash Jumping. Dash Jumping is a secret mechanic the game doesn’t actually tell you about and at first when I looked it up online, I thought it was just some weird speedrun tech but nope, it’s an actual mechanic that the developers intended you to interact with. To do a Dash Jump you have to move the stick to the direction you want, wait approximately a second, move the stick again while simultaneously pressing the attack and jump button.
I didn’t lie when I said this looks like some ancient speedrun tech because how is anyone supposed to figure that shit out ! Just mastering the damn technique took me a solid hour of training but then the game expects you to do some insanely precise platforming with it, and when I say precise, I mean, jumping from tiny platform to tiny platform, expecting the game slippery as fuck physics to bend to your will and doing so multiple times in a row.
There is another issue with the general platforming of this game though. I’m a big platforming guy and can handle the shittiest of platforming (I’ve become a master at navigating Deep Jungle in KH1 as a kid after all) but the main issue with platforming in Ys VI is that everytime you fall, you don’t simply fall to your doom and respawn with less health like in most games. Instead you get transported to a lower floor area and have to make the trip back to retry again which almost made me wish I played the PS2 version of the game with savestate (even if it looks uglier). This can make you waste tons of time if you’re not good with 3D platforming in a somewhat isometric view and the game is full of those. It’s a problem that’s common to most entries in the Ark Engine trilogy but at least they provide options for staying in the air longer and make platforming less tedious but here, screw double jumping and say hello to DASH JUMPING.
I will also say that as far as the combat system goes, Ys VI can still feel a little rough. While it’s still definitely more fast-paced and fun than Ys V, you quickly realize that the slow methodical approach to combat of that game isn’t fully gone yet. Enemies are brutal in this game and collisions and hitboxes combined with the traditional absence of invincibility frame in this series means you can get ganged to death by a bunch of smaller ennemies working together to fuck you in the ass ! I wouldn’t mind if the game provided enough tools for crowd control but sadly the closest it gets is the down thrust which deals multiple hits and as a hitbox that reaches wider than intended and well… you can guess how awkward that is to just jump and down trust everywhere to progress.
And don’t expect to rely on magic to save yourself either ! While I think the new magic system is definitely more on-point with the energy of the game than Ys V, I still think the way it’s used leaves a lot to be desired. Each sword can unleash a single big magic attack once their bars are filled up but just one time ! Then it’s back to charging it by killing enemies, heck there’s even a boss midway through the game which has an entire gimmick based on that mechanic and it’s easily the worst boss in the entire Ark Engine trilogy, not so much because it’s a hard boss but because it’s BORING.
Other than that, bosses usually are pretty good, the boss design clearly had a step-up in reactivity and there’s even a few humanoid bosses this time around. The patterns are pretty fun to learn but the main issue comes with the difficulty of them being on average quite easy. Ys VI allows you to equip healing items before entering the boss arena and for the record there’s a grand total of 9 tiers of healing items which is way too overkill, it also makes dungeon exploration a bit smoother with access to the inventory being unlimited. Ys VI, keeps a lot of its older RPG roots but I don’t really think it benefits the experience.
However for those still looking for a challenge, this game was the first game in the series (and the first game in Falcom’s catalog) to introduce various 4 difficulty options ranging from Easy to Nightmare and exclusive to this game is the catastrophe mode which prevents you from healing midway through battle and make every enemy drop less money in general.
Another personal opinion of mine also comes with the music, while I can’t pretend the soundtrack is bad, it’s definitely a bit different that what we’re used with the series, the OST is calmer and more atmospheric, sometimes keeping the high energy octane stuff for bosses and action segments. I don’t dislike it and there’s a few bangers here and there but it’s not the soundtrack I go back to the most imo.
You can feel Ys VI being a transitional episode between two eras of Ys (if we forgot about Ys III and V which were the odd ones of the bunch) and while a lot of things about Ys VI still holds up, I do wish that by the time they had re-released that one, they actually retroactively added a lot of the elements introduced in the later two games (which spoilers are amongst my favorite in the series and I’m really excited to talk about them !).
However the game still retains a lot of charm and soul and that trademark sense of Falcom storytelling they experimented with the Gagharv trilogy slowly creeping its way into their other properties. For a modern gamer today, Ys VI feels like a rough transition but to the people who got to witness the grand return of Adol and his friend on PC and home console, it was pretty much a revolution which somehow manages to stand out amongst the crowd.
Ys VI marked the grand return of both Ys and Falcom in the realms of game development and while Falcom isn’t the prestigious and genre defining company that they used to be in the 80’s, the new team made sure to live up to the studio’s legacy by delivering varied, original and surprisingly charming titles for years to the coming decade and the advent of a certain platform is gonna help Falcom stuck out of the niche and approach the realms of the hidden gems mine.
But for now, Ys is going to take a break from advancing its continuity as the next title in the series will be none other than a remake of one of the least revered game in the franchise up to that point, it’s time to go back to the past, to go back to Felghana !